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Aer Lingus to double long-haul fleet

8th June 2007 Print
Aer Lingus has announced a substantial expansion of its long haul fleet. The Airline has selected the new Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) and A330-300E (enhanced) aircraft to underpin its long haul growth strategy. This follows an extensive evaluation process and intensive negotiations and will allow the Airline to double its long haul fleet to fourteen Airbus aircraft by 2014.

Aer Lingus will take delivery of six new A330-300E and six new A350 XWB aircraft, valued at $2.4bn at catalogue prices, with deliveries commencing in 2009. Substantial discounts off the catalogue prices have been negotiated. In addition, Aer Lingus will also be granted the option to purchase a further six A350 XWB aircraft for delivery by 2018.

This transaction is subject to shareholder approval, which will be sought at a specially convened Extraordinary General Meeting.

The expansion of the Aer Lingus long haul fleet commenced in 2007 with the delivery of a new A330-200E aircraft in May, to be followed by an A330-300E scheduled for delivery in June 2007, bringing the long haul fleet to nine aircraft. The transaction announced today will bring the long haul fleet to fourteen aircraft in 2014 through the delivery of five additional aircraft and the replacement of three older aircraft (one in 2009 and two in 2011).

A further four aircraft will be replaced in 2015 and 2016. In addition, over the next few years Aer Lingus will be substantially improving the levels of passenger comfort in its existing aircraft in an upgrade programme.

The new A330-300E will offer increased passenger comfort coupled with greater fuel efficiency and a reduced environmental footprint. The A350 XWB is Airbus' newest aircraft and will be the world's most technologically advanced. It is designed to increase productivity, offer unparalleled levels of passenger comfort in its class whilst reducing operating costs. The A350 XWB will also be one of the most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft in the world.

Commenting on the announcement, Aer Lingus' Chief Executive Dermot Mannion said, "Following the successful IPO last autumn, in which we raised significant capital, we are pleased to announce this investment in new long haul aircraft. These aircraft are key to our growth ambitions which include new routes to the U.S. following the Open Skies agreement. The aircraft will complement our existing Airbus fleet and enhance our long haul network whilst offering a superior product to customers."

Speaking at the announcement, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy said, "We are absolutely delighted that Aer Lingus has chosen to modernise and expand its Airbus fleet. The A350 XWB will bring Aer Lingus industry leading operating costs and offer its customers best-in-class passenger comfort. The A330's continued winning economics and design is reinforced by the order."